He started sleeping worse than a newborn! | Catnaps | Short naps
Kelly tells us about her solution for baby Alex's short naps and poor nights.
Alex was a restless little man. He would cat-nap throughout the day, and then be an alert night owl at bedtime.
His parents could forget about a good night’s sleep; Alex wouldn’t sleep for any longer than one or perhaps two hour blocks if they were lucky.
It was an all-too familiar pattern for his parents, who had willed themselves through sleep deprivation with his older brother… but not again!
Having survived 14 months of sleepless nights with Alex’s older brother, they knew it would just be too much a second time around. Although Alex was only four months old, his parents wanted to nip it in the bud and get a good sleep routine down.
Kelly meets little Alex
Alex’s Mum decided to give Kelly a call and have her come in for a two hour in-home consultation. Kelly got to meet little Alex and learn more about his eating and sleeping patterns, and how he fits in with the rest of the family.
It was pretty clear to Kelly from the beginning that Alex’s sleep environment just wasn’t working for him.
Alex would sleep when he felt like it during the daytime and then find himself wide awake come nightfall. He would also snack on milk intermittently without really drinking enough to help lull him into a good, deep sleep.
A quick makeover for the nursery
Alex typically napped in the lounge, but he was getting overstimulated by the people around him. So Kelly took Alex to the nursery, where she made a few quick changes to transform it into a nice, dark space for him to relax in. Alex was also swaddled for extra comfort, since he was still so small and enjoyed the sensation.
Alex’s older brother was three years old and doing what any self-respecting three year old does – making lots of noise. Fortunately, that problem was easily solved by introducing plenty of white noise in the nursery.
Kelly also noticed that there was one pretty major difference between Alex and his older brother that his parents hadn’t picked up on yet. Many kids, including Alex’s brother, find dummies soothing.
But Alex found the dummy agitating, and every time it was put in his mouth he would get upset. Putting Alex to sleep without the dummy actually worked far better for him.
A sleep routine was then key to getting Alex’s body clock to shift. Kelly worked with Alex’s Mum to come up with a schedule that included an afternoon nap for both toddler and baby, but was also based around Alex not sleeping as frequently during the day as he was doing.
Within only a week or two, Alex was waking up only once a night for a feed, “which is a completely age appropriate amount,” says Kelly.
I'm not coming back!
During the home consultation, Alex’s Mum asked Kelly how often she’d have to come back to help Alex develop his sleep routine.
Kelly likes to jokingly respond to this question by saying “I won’t need to come back a second time, hun!”
But behind the joke, the sentiment is clear. Kelly doesn’t have to come back, and the four follow up calls she did with Alex’s Mum over the next week or so proved that Alex had progressed incredibly well. Alex was having steady naps during the day and letting his parents sleep well at night.
Alex’s Mum was absolutely thrilled to have his sleeping habits sorted by four months, as opposed to the 14 months it took with his older brother. She told Kelly that she felt like a huge weight have been lifted, and felt “more in control with two kids than I was with one!”
Alex’s Mum also said: “Thank you so much for your help with Alex; you have literally saved my life! I used to dread going to bed at night, and how many wake ups we were going to endure, and now my husband and I can put both kids to bed at a reasonable time and watch a movie together with a glass of wine. Honestly, we cannot thank you enough.”
Kelly Cat Napping Checklist
If you’re wanting to nip your babies cat napping in the butt, check out Kelly’s quick check list
- Sleep environment nice and dark
- White noise turned up
- Appropriate positive sleep associations
- Enough awake time that baby is tired enough to not cat nap
- Baby not over tired
- Aim for naps to fall inside biological sleep windows
- Baby isn’t hungry or in pain
- Baby isn’t feeding to sleep or reliant on a dummy under 6 months old
- Baby can easily self settle independently
- I’m ready to commit to working on re-settling consistently